Rejoice in the Lord always. And again I say rejoice. Philippians 4:4 (KJV)
Many years ago I heard Elisabeth Elliot, widow of martyred missionary Jim Elliot, speak. I have never forgotten one of her observations: “The Christian life is simple, but it’s never easy.” Paul’s instructions in Philippians 4:4 are a perfect illustration of her point.
There’s nothing easy about rejoicing when our lives are churning with turmoil or capsized by tragedy. We may suffer from a terminal illness or perhaps a loved one has been deployed. We may wonder how we will pay the mortgage or grieve for a family member who has wandered far from the Lord. These kinds of trials prompt us to ask, “Did God really mean always?”
And the simple but difficult answer to that question is yes, that’s exactly what He meant. How is it possible to obey this command? Look carefully at the verse: we rejoice in the Lord
For example, in Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus prepared his followers for the persecution they were going to encounter as his ambassadors. First He gave them a command that He knew would lead them into many hardships: “go make disciples.” Then He promised, “I am with you always.” Like the disciples, we are called to navigate some dark, difficult waters. But we also can rejoice in the presence of the Lord. He stands beside us, ready to keep us on course.
In 2 Corinthians 9:8 Paul says, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need you will abound in every good work.” When we allow God’s grace to flow into our lives, He infuses us with the power to praise Him. We can always rejoice in the Lord’s presence and His provision because He has promised that He will always supply what we need (Philippians 4:19).
Psalm 13 is a poignant prayer. What is David’s state of mind in verses 1-2? What is his request in verse 3? Why is he rejoicing in verses 5-6?
Read Colossians 1:3-8. Why is Paul always thanking God for the Colossians? Then read verses 9-13. What is he always praying for?
Some other verses that use always are Luke 18:1, Ephesians 5:20, and Colossians 4:6. If those instructions seem overwhelming, read 2 Corinthians 2:14 and be encouraged.
Denise K. Loock